The three-chapter documentary-style introduction for Animals,
Adaptations, and the Galápagos Islands provides key
facts about Charles Darwin’s historic trip. The presentation
also introduces students to Niles Eldredge, a paleontologist at
the American Museum of Natural History.
After viewing the introduction with students, use the following
script to emphasize key points such as the time period, Darwin’s
note-taking practice, and the scientist’s goal. You can
also print the script
(PDF) to hand out to your students.
Charles Darwin grew up in 19th century England. From a young age,
he was intensely curious about nature and at 22 began a five-year
voyage around the world on a ship named the Beagle. To remember
his experiences, Darwin took notes about everything he observed…
every kind of animal, plant, and rock.
In 1835, the Beagle arrived at the Galápagos Islands, located
in the Pacific Ocean near Ecuador. Darwin was dazzled by the many
unusual plants and animals he found. Today we call this rich variety
of life “biodiversity.” “Bio” means “life,”
and “diversity” means variety. Darwin searched the
islands for patterns in hopes of unlocking the mysteries of nature.
Meet Niles Eldredge. His hero is Charles Darwin. And like Darwin,
Niles loves to explore interesting questions about nature. Niles
is a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History.
He studies fossils. His goal is to understand how life on Earth
has evolved -- or changed -- over long periods of time.
Hi, my name is Niles Eldredge. I'm a paleontologist and an expert
on Charles Darwin. I'll be your host as you explore the Galápagos
Islands just like Darwin did over 150 years ago.
Now it’s your turn to follow in Darwin’s footsteps…
Choose a level from the menu to see teaching ideas and learning
connections for each activity.
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